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It is crystal clear Bowling Green State University's defense seriously missed strong safety P.J. Mahone in its secondary the six weeks he did not suit up after being suspended indefinitely for violation of team policy.
The Falcons' hard-hitting senior put on a show before a national television audience on Tuesday night at Buffalo on how a defensive player can impact the outcome of a game as much as an offensive player.
He recorded a game-high 10 tackles in Bowling Green's 30-29 fourth-quarter comeback victory over the Bulls.
Mahone's presence on the field made him easily recognizable as one of the team leaders.
He had a presence on special teams when the Falcons blocked two punts that set up two scores. He recovered the first blocked punt, then blocked a second punt andrecovered it too.
You could also see Mahonedirecting his defensive teammates on the field like a quarterback does on offense. It almost seemed like he hadn't missed those games in which the Falcons posted a 2-4 record.
The offense came up big in the final quarter with the game-winning touchdown, but the defense was just as big, shutting out Buffalo in the fourth quarter.
Mahone is back, but you have to wonder what this defense missed by his absence.